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Nintendo DS

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This article is about the handheld video game system. For the Mario Kart DS battle course, see Nintendo DS (battle course).
"DS" redirects here. For information about the DS-like device Luigi uses in Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, see Dual Scream. For the web Flash game, see Dribble Skillz.
Nintendo DS
The original Nintendo DS, in a silver color
The first commercial model of the Nintendo DS
Generation Seventh generation
Release date Nintendo DS:
USA November 21, 2004
Japan December 2, 2004
ROC December 2, 2004
South Korea December 29, 2004
Australia February 24, 2005
Europe March 11, 2005
HK April 21, 2005
China June 15, 2005[1]
Nintendo DS Lite:
Japan March 2, 2006
Australia June 1, 2006
USA June 11, 2006
Europe June 23, 2006
China June 26, 2006[2]
South Korea January 18, 2007
Discontinued Nintendo DS: 2009[citation needed]
Nintendo DS Lite: April 22, 2011[3]
Predecessor Game Boy Advance
Successor Nintendo 3DS
“Touching is good.”
United States advertisement slogan for the Nintendo DS
“Pick up and play.”
European advertisement slogan for the Nintendo DS
Logo for the Nintendo DS

The Nintendo DS, or simply the DS, is a handheld game system released by Nintendo in 2004. The Nintendo DS is Nintendo's fifth handheld system; its predecessor is the Game Boy Advance. It features two 3-inch screens. "DS" stands for "Dual Screen" (though, at its conception, it was intended to stand for "Developer's System").[4] The system introduces many new features to the Nintendo handheld lineup, including a resistive touchscreen, visible operating system GUI (in the form of the main menu), stereo sound output/audio input via microphone, and wireless connection capabilities. It is also the first Nintendo handheld to support 3D polygonal graphics as opposed to only sprites. The DS also introduces a feature known as sleep mode, where one can close the console and preserve its battery life. As with previous major Nintendo handhelds, the DS (and by extension the DS Lite) provides backwards compatibility for Game Boy Advance games (though this does not work with the DSi models), although only limited to single-player experiences as the link cable and wireless adapter support are missing. Similiar to the Game Boy Micro, the DS and DS Lite cannot play games made for the Game Boy and Game Boy Color. The charger provided with the first generation DS is the same connection as the Game Boy Advance SP. The graphical capability of the Nintendo DS is said to be on par with the Nintendo 64, albeit with enhanced 3D modeling, but more pixelated textures due to lack of texture filtering.

The DS is the first Nintendo system to include wireless functions, allowing it to link up with other DS's without any wires or add-ons. This was also the first system Nintendo made to go online (Mario Kart DS being the first Nintendo-made online game), using Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. On the original DS and the DS Lite, WPA encrypted networks are not supported.

The Nintendo DS retains the +Control Pad, A Button, B Button, L Button, R Button, Start Button, and Select Button buttons from the Game Boy Advance and also includes the X Button and Y Button, so it has all of the same buttons as a Super Nintendo Entertainment System controller.

Before the official name's release, Iris was the first codename for the handheld that would be the successor of the Game Boy Advance. Later, it was called Nitro[5] when the new device created had two screens.

The Nintendo DS (including DS Lite, DSi, and DSi XL) sold 154.02 million units as of March 31, 2020, making it Nintendo's best-selling video game console, the highest-selling handheld console in the world, and the second-highest-selling console overall worldwide behind the PlayStation 2.[6] In February of 2011, the DS line was superseded by the Nintendo 3DS.

Since May 20, 2014, online play for many Nintendo DS games has been discontinued due to the closing of the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service.[7] The DSi Shop was later discontinued on March 31, 2017, with the gainable points discontinued on September 30, 2016.[8]


Nintendo DS Lite[edit]

NintendoWiki article: Nintendo DS Lite
A Polar White Nintendo DS Lite model
A Polar White DS Lite with a stylus

A newer model named the Nintendo DS Lite was released in 2006 and contains all the features of the original Nintendo DS with some new features such as a significantly brighter screen (with four adjustment options), a lighter weight, and a smaller overall size (having the negative side effect of a regular Game Boy Advance cartridge protruding out from the bottom, similar to playing a Game Boy or Game Boy Color cartridge in the Game Boy Advance). The Nintendo DS Lite sold 89.19 million units as of 2010[citation needed]. It was also the final handheld system to have backwards compatibility with Game Boy Advance games.

Nintendo DSi and DSi XL[edit]

Main article: Nintendo DSi
Black Nintendo DSi
The Nintendo DSi

A third model, called the Nintendo DSi, was announced on October 2, 2008.[9] It is thinner, lighter, and brighter than the Nintendo DS Lite, having removed the Game Boy Advance slot. However, this means that the Nintendo DS Rumble Pak, which was used with titles such as Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, alongside other peripherals which used the slot, cannot be used. Two cameras, music playback functions, Wi-Fi, internet browser, larger screens, and a Wii-like channel interface were added. Additionally, the console supports WPA encrypted networks.

The DSi is also able to download games from the Nintendo DSi Shop, which are then stored on an SD Card or in internal memory. It was released in Japan on November 1, 2008, in Australia on April 2, 2009, in Europe on April 3, 2009, and in North America on April 5, 2009. The DSi's front has a camera lens, and another, smaller lens is located where the mic was positioned on the Lite, allowing for photos to be taken with the DSi. In 2009, Nintendo later released the Nintendo DSi XL, with the "XL" standing for "Extra Large". It is also the heaviest of the four models.[10]


A Nintendo DS stylus
A Nintendo DS stylus

The Stylus stylus is a pencil-like accessory that comes included with the Nintendo DS system. The instrument is often used in conjunction with the Touch Screen. Usually, the stylus is used to make menu selections, which the player can do by bringing the stylus in contact with their selection on the Touch Screen. Additionally, the stylus is often useful for touching precise points on the Touch Screen during gameplay. For example, New Super Mario Bros., Super Mario 64 DS, and Wario: Master of Disguise use the stylus for minigames such as Wanted! and Roach Smash. The stylus is also used to control Minis in Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis and Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem!

On the DS, the stylus slot is located on the back, and is inserted downwards, relatively to the DS itself. On the DS Lite and DSi, however, it was relocated to the right side of the system, and is inserted from right to left, relative to the DS Lite or DSi.

The stylus for the DS is noticeably thinner than the stylus for the DS Lite. A DS generally comes with two styluses when purchased, with extra styluses available for purchase separately. Special styluses were also released, some as promotions for certain games, such as touch pens based on New Super Mario Bros. depicting Mario and Luigi.

See also[edit]


The microphone on the Nintendo DS Lite
The microphone on the Nintendo DS Lite

The Microphone microphone is a feature on the Nintendo DS. On the original DS, it is at the lower left-hand corner, right below the screen. On the DS Lite, it is at the middle in between the two screens. Its function is to accept audio input. Blowing into it will allow events to happen in the game that the player is playing, such as Toad Jump. In other games, the player must say words into the microphone. In Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, the player must clap into the mic to gain inspiration from the crowd in Long Jump and Triple Jump. Also, in the game Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, the player needs to use the microphone at certain points, such as breathing out fire as Giant Bowser.

Rumble Pak[edit]

Main article: Rumble Pak
Nintendo DS Rumble Pak

This accessory is shaped like a Game Boy Advance Game Pak, which it plugs into the bottom of the Nintendo DS. It is incompatible with the Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DSi or Nintendo 3DS. Some Super Mario games are compatible with it, such as Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time.

Super Mario-related appearances[edit]

WarioWare: Touched![edit]

The plot of WarioWare: Touched! revolves around Wario obtaining a gaming console resembling a Nintendo DS and using it to market new microgames. Occasionally, a Nintendo DS can be seen in the Pushing Buttons microgame.

Mario Kart DS[edit]

One of the battle courses in Mario Kart DS is the Nintendo DS. It is a nod to the Nintendo GameCube battle course from Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, as it is based on the GameCube. A picture of the original DS can be seen on some of the billboards in Mario Circuit.

Mario & Luigi series[edit]

Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time[edit]

Artwork of a Shroob from Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time
A Shroob holding a silver, flip-top communicator

In Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, Shroobs call saucers by using a silver, flip-top communicator. Because the Nintendo DS has the capability to send verbal messages to friends, this may be a reference to the Nintendo DS. Additionally, Professor Elvin Gadd is shown to own a Nintendo DS with an apparent time radar he used to locate Princess Peach at the beginning of the game; he later uses the DS to operate the Hydrogush 4000.

Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story[edit]

In Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story, the Emoglobins that run the Gauntlet and Cholesteroad are shaped similarly to the DS systems. Additionally, Dark Fawful uses a device that resembles a Nintendo DS to track down the Dark Star.

WarioWare: Smooth Moves[edit]

In WarioWare: Smooth Moves, a Nintendo DS appears in the microgames Brain Age, and Wario Hunting as one of the possible baits.

Super Paper Mario[edit]

Super Paper Mario includes a computer console called the Dining Specializer, which is modeled after the Nintendo DS Lite (and can also be abbreviated "DS"). There is also a two-screened handheld that resembles a Nintendo DS known as a Training Machine, which the fortune teller Merluvlee wanted to use to train her brain (which, in turn, is a reference to the popular DS title, Brain Age, known in British English as "Brain Training").

Mario Strikers Charged[edit]

In Mario Strikers Charged, Strikers' Times are shown on the Touch Screen of a Nintendo DS Lite.

Mario Party DS[edit]

In Mario Party DS, when the player defeats Bowser at the end of the story mode, the five Sky Crystals join and form something like a crystal Nintendo DS, unlocking Triangle Twisters.

Super Smash Bros. series[edit]

Super Smash Bros. Brawl[edit]

In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, one of the names that can appear upon pressing the random button when naming a custom stage is "DS". There is also a stage called PictoChat, based on the Nintendo DS's pre-installed communication application of the same name; the emblem used for this stage is derived from the two squares that replace the letter "O" in the Nintendo DS logo. A music track used in the stage, also titled "PictoChat", uses the emblem as well and features sound effects from the Nintendo DS and Wii menus as well as the PictoChat application. Additionally, in the Trophy Hoard, a black Nintendo DS Lite can be seen in the background with the presents.

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Super Smash Bros. Ultimate[edit]

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate feature a successor to the original PictoChat stage, PictoChat 2, which reuses the original stage's emblem. The "PictoChat" music track also returns.

Donkey Kong Country Returns[edit]

In Donkey Kong Country Returns, if left idle for long enough, Donkey Kong will pull out a Nintendo DS Lite to play a game.

Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon[edit]

In Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, Luigi uses a device called the Dual Scream to communicate with Professor E. Gadd. The Dual Scream is based on the Nintendo DS, being the equivalent of the Game Boy Horror (based on the Game Boy Color) that Luigi uses in Luigi's Mansion.


System gallery[edit]

Game gallery[edit]

Language and region support[edit]

All Nintendo DS and DS Lite models except Korea and China (iQue) can be changed to any of the six languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Japanese. The Korean models replaced Italian with Korean and the iQue models replaced Japanese with Chinese.

Nintendo DS and DS Lite are region free except for iQue DS cartridges, which cannot play on non-iQue models but display an "Only for iQue DS" warning when booted[11]. iQue DS and DS Lite models play all import cartridges, and iQue DS cartridges are playable on all non-iQue DSi and 3DS models.


Pink Ribbon Nintendo DS Lite
The Pink Ribbon Nintendo DS Lite
  • If the DS or DS Lite is turned on on the date that the user has set as their birthday, a high pitched chime will play. The DSi and DSi XL will not do this.
  • At one point, a special "Pink Ribbon" Nintendo DS Lite was released in late September 2008. For every one bought, $5 would be donated to the Inflammatory Breast Cancer Association.
  • The Nintendo DS is the only handheld system to have neither a Player's Choice or Nintendo Selects label on select video games.